February is almost over and though it's known worldwide as the month to celebrate love - us FTHC Tribe members strive to show love all year round! We focus on doing small things consistently in an effort to enhance the overall health of our relationships. We not only do them, but we try to be genuine in our connections with others. Being authentic means being truly present in the here and now each moment spent together. Life is so busy and if we're honest, many of us probably struggle with making time to be truly present.
Quality time is essential to any relationship. The most important relationship in your life is with each one of your family members! Today I want to share ways that a parent can make the biggest investment in their life: invest in their kid(s)! Dating your kid does not mean getting weird or creepy. Nor does it mean doing things that are inappropriate for their age level or the relationship. Dating your kid is modeling what genuine love is without verbalizing it. Ok that's enough talking - let's get into the good stuff!
1 | "The Perfect Date"
As a parent, it's your job to do two things when it comes to dating: figure out your child's "perfect date" and to be the example of a perfect date for your child. What do you mean Seida? I'm glad you asked! Figuring out your child's perfect date is simply a matter of studying your child or asking them what they would like to do. Pay attention to the things your child gets excited about or always asks questions about. Then start by asking them if they would be interested in doing these activities. For example, if your child loves comic books - perhaps you could find out when a comic book convention is in your city and surprise your child with tickets! Being the example of a perfect date covers so many areas. I believe that while single parents can teach their children lots of amazing things and help develop phenomenal character - there will always be a need for a father/mother-figure to fill.
Now wait! Before single parents try to kill me - let me explain! I believe a woman can teach her son how to treat a woman, how to be treated as a woman and various honorable characteristics; however, he will still need a father-figure to teach him things his mother just may not understand. In the same token, a father can teach his daughter how to be loved and what to accept in a relationship, but there are things about becoming a young lady/woman that a father simply can't teach. During this date, the parent is modeling both how to treat the opposite sex and how to be treated by the opposite sex. This could be done openly (telling your son that it's considered polite to open doors for women) or by demonstrating this (opening your daughter's car door for her and helping her out of the car).
2 | What You Want
What you want? Baby I got it! What you neeeed? You know I got it! All I'm asking is for a little respect! -- whoops! Sorry! Can you tell I love singing? Ok back to this post! What is your biggest reason for wanting to take your child on a date? That will determine what your next steps are and what you do while you're out on the date. For example, if your goal is to teach your child manners at a restaurant you will probably do more straightforward directions in addition to modeling. Alternatively, if your goal is to get to know your child, you will most likely let a bit more slide without redirecting their behaviors.
What would you like the result of this date to be? Is it alone time with a child who was previously an only child? Is it alone time with your child after a major life transition, like moving to a new city or starting a blended family with someone new? Is it that you are a mother who has a daughter that is about to start dating and you want to give her a couple of tips? See how each of these situations call for different actions? Take some time and think about it before you go out.
Did you ask your kid on the date? Did they say yes? Awesome! Are you happy? Get excited about your date!! Make it a big deal!! Why? Because nobody wants to date an unhappy person! The way you feel about the date will be reflected and your child will feel it if you're not in it. I know if you've been struggling with a child that makes tons of negative choices it may hard to shift your mind to get excited. So if you're not ready to be authentic - don't do it. The worst feeling in the world is for a child to understand that their parent would actually rather be anywhere else...but with them. It will do more harm than good if you attempt to invite them out before you're actually ready.
When a relationship gets into a sticky place trying something different can be helpful to break up the monotony. On the other hand, the child might test boundaries during the date just to see if you're really excited about spending time with them. Ask yourself, am I ready to keep my cool even if (insert child's name) starts to get disrespectful? I am not saying you should simply accept the disrespect, but this goes back to determining the purpose of the date.
4 | Spontaneity
Release your inhibitions! Relax! Be present in the moment and get to know your child! There are always new things to learn about your child - even if you think you know everything about them already! Don't be afraid to get silly with them! Turn. Off. The. Parent. Thing. Why? Because parents just don't understand! (I had to get that one in there!) Seriously, don't try to hard. Be yourself. Just ease up on the commands for this one night, yet be reasonable. I understand this is a fine line! This is why I would encourage you to think about what your purpose, goals and expectations are for the date.
Well, what do you think? Ready to take on the challenge? Let me know in the comment section how you date your kid! Or you can join the FTHC Tribe Lounge and let us know there! Let me know how you spend QT with your kid on Twitter - click the phrase below to tweet!